Texas State Board of Education candidate Mary Lou Bruner acted out in retaliation against a Breitbart Texas reporter, apparently unhappy with a recent post-primary candidate roundup article.
Bruner is now one of two Texas Republican hopefuls headed for a May 24 run-off race for the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) District 9 seat. She threw what many would call an online tantrum and posting this reporter’s private cell phone number on Facebook.
In addition to that posting, she put the entire content of the interview which was conducted via Gmail on her Facebook page. The candidate was apparently rankled that Breitbart Texas did not print every one of her 1,671 words. Her answers to questions, many of which centered around her deeply rooted religious convictions and represent a belief system many Texans share, make her well suited to run as a candidate for a parochial school board. However, Bruner seeks a seat on the state’s 15-member board of public education, representing an East Texas district comprised of 31 counties and a taxpaying constituency of varying ethnic and/or religious backgrounds. District 9 spans as far west as the Dallas-neighboring counties of Rockwall and Kaufman.
The SBOE plays a vital role in setting state curriculum standards for the textbooks used by 5.2 million publicly educated school children. Bruner states, in part, on her campaign website that she believes schools should get back to basics “…by teaching the theory of evolution as a theory – and not the only theory.” She crusades for creationism, telling Breitbart Texas in that email:
“As for my personal beliefs as to how the universe was formed, scientists have forced us to say creation is religion and evolution is science even though both “THEORIES” deal with the same topic– how the earth and the universe were formed. Personally I would like science classes explore the strengths and weaknesses or of several theories including creation, intelligent design, and evolution. But since government scientists insist that evolution is the only theory which can be taught in public school, evolution should be taught as a THEORY and not as a LAW like the Law of Gravity. The strengths and WEAKNESSES of evolution should be investigated and explored in school classes just as other THEORIES are tested and investigated. THIS IS THE SCIENTIFIC WAY.
Science books should tell the TRUTH about the discovery of fossilized remains which some scientists claim are “missing lengths.” In some cases these fossilized animal bones have turned out to be a combination of two or more kinds of animal bones. Also scientists hire artists to produce pictures of how an extinct animal might have looked when they have a political agenda, and they really have no basis for the drawing.
In one case that I discovered, an artist had produced a realistic-looking drawing of an animal when the artist only had a one-square-inch piece of skull bone upon which to base his drawing. This is not true science. The children are not told this is an artist’s opinion of how the animal might have looked based on the tiny piece of fossilized bone fragment and where it was found. The children believe this is an accurate realistic picture of the animal.”
A 2009 article in US News & World Report stated creationists ‘want the Bible to be treated like a science book and their efforts fail in court because creationism begins with a series of set-in-stone conclusions anchored in a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible, and then cherry picks ‘facts’ to back up that religious view. Anything that doesn’t fit the scenario is tossed. Call that what you will; but it isn’t science.”
The article highlighted state and federal courts repeatedly struck down the teaching of creationism at every turn in the public school sector no matter how proponents presented it – as creation science, intelligent design (ID), or the theory of abrupt appearance.
Regardless of her religious beliefs, which are again shared by many, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, Chapter 112, subchapters B and C for middle and high school biology define science in accordance with the National Academy of Sciences, which state as the “use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena, as well as the knowledge generated through this process.”
On Facebook, Bruner rails on about Common Core but this reporter could not find a peep on her Facebook page about controversial community schools. In the 11th hour of the state’s last legislative session, a bill that would have fundamentally changed the role of public education in ways that conflict with Texas values, almost made its way into the state’s public school classrooms, which Breitbart Texas reported.
She also said little about open-enrollment charter schools, a high priority with top Texas lawmakers. On the Breitbart Texas email thread, she stated, in part: the “SBOE has no power over ‘school choice’ issues.” This is incorrect as the SBOE has the power to approve or veto the commissioner’s picks for open-enrollment public charter schools.
Despite a 36-year career in the public school system, this retired teacher, who possesses a Master’s Degree, seems befuddled on her Mary Lou Bruner for SBOE website, championing cursive writing as if it is no longer taught in elementary school. This is also incorrect according to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the state’s government entity that oversees public and open-enrollment public charter schools. The TEA say students learn cursive writing.
Bruner since unloaded on another reporter on Facebook. She wrote, in part: “It is important that reporters state their biases. For instance, you could say at the beginning of your blog that you are a Democrat and you do not like people who have politically incorrect conservative ideas.”
This loose cannon continues to make headlines for all the wrong reasons and could become a looming distraction to the business of the SBOE. Comedian John Oliver lambasted her comments that baby dinosaurs roamed on Noah’s Ark, dying out only because they were too young to have sex, as was reported by Breitbart Texas’ Lana Shadwick. Bruner also accused President Obama of paying for a drug addiction in his 20’s by working as a gay male prostitute.
Bruner even doubled down when Breitbart Texas asked her about these and other outlandish Facebook posts, “Anything you’d like to ‘take back’ or do you stand behind everything you’ve said online?” We reported she said: “I don’t intend to apologize for my opinions because I still believe my statements were accurate,” but wait, there was more:
“I have a fundamental First Amendment right to express my opinions. People have a right to disagree with my opinions of they can ‘unfriend’ me if they do not agree with my opinions; but no one has the right to bully me trying to ‘take back’ my statements or ‘apologize’ because I do not have the same opinion they have.
Which Facebook statement do you want me to take back? I do not intend to apologize for my opinions because I still believe my statements were accurate. And if a person does not agree with me, I have the right to be mistaken? I will speak with any reasonable minded person about my opinions but I will not be bullied and intimidated by the foul, filthy, name-calling and rhetoric I have been subjected to by radicals on the left.”
This week, Bruner slammed her upcoming May 24 run-off opponent, the conservative Ellis, a Lufkin school board president, alleging he “likes” the defunct CSCOPE and the Common Core, and branding him as the “establishment candidate.” Conversely, Ellis has not posted negatively about her online.
One wonders how Bruner will be able to work alongside 14 other individuals on the state education board on issues pertinent to public schools. Will she be able to exercise restraint and remain composed among those with whom she disagrees, or will she lash out on Facebook as she did with Breitbart Texas, perhaps among the few, if not the only, conservative news outlets to interview her.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.